What Happens in Group?

“And there came a time when the risk of remaining tight in the bud was more painful that the risk it took to blossom.”

-Anais Nin

“Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.”

-From Eat, Pray, Love, Susan Gilbert, 2007

Each 12 week group session follows a basic structure of three segments: settling in, exploration, and feedback. Each session begins with an opportunity to become quiet and transition into the present moment; followed by an opportunity for individual or interpersonal exploration, concluding with a chance for all group members to give feedback and support to each other.

Settling In

Each group begins with a few quiet minutes to settle in, center and connect with oneself. It may begin with a breathing exercise, a meditation, a poetry reading, an inspirational reading or a special exercise. Then we start a “round.” During this round, each group member is invited to take 2-3 minutes to share what her experience is in the moment and whether or not she would like some time and attention from the group that day. You are free to ask for time in the group regardless of whether or not you have clarity about what you want to share.

Therapeutic Exploration

From this “round”, we will have an idea of who wants time to talk

When someone decides to take time, I invite that person into therapeutic exploration. Although this exploration takes on different forms depending on you and your unique circumstances, in general we bring awareness, (attention, presence and nonjudgement) to your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values and behaviors. We are exploring how these may help or impede you in your life.

Through this process you identify habitual responses that you may have towards life. This allows a shift to living in a more conscious and intentional way. For example, as you are talking, I may notice that you have a habit of cutting yourself off from your feelings or judging yourself harshly. I may have you exaggerate this tendency in order to help you further understand and experience how these habits may limit your effectiveness in life and your growth as a human being.

Robert Hall, M.D. Gestalt therapist and teacher, said, “The entire journey can be described as the process of returning our attention, again, and again, and again, from the internal discussion about our lives to the vivid experience of the here and now. That way, we learn about the reality of things.” (2000.) The self-discovery that takes place in this group is an experiential understanding rather than a conceptual analysis.

Feedback

After someone completes their individual work, I invite the other members of the group to give feedback and/or support regarding how the experience affected them. This sharing takes the form of self-disclosure rather than making judgements, giving advice or analysing.

These three segments may be repeated with another group member or we may attend to other group needs.

Please note: All group members agree at the beginning of group to keep all stories and identities confidential.

We invite you to join us!

Location:
Tempe, Arizona (call for details)

Days and Times:
Wednesday mornings 10:00 am - noon

Call (480) 838-1719

Resources

If you are interested in further information on Gestalt Therapy, check out the Gestalt Page at www.gestalt.org or the Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy at www.agt.org. If you are interested in other mindfulness-based practices please see the therapeutic work of Jon Kabat- Zinn, Marsha Linehan, and Steven Hayes.

Kabat-Zinn,J.(1991). Full Catastrophy Living. New York: Delta Publishing.

Chodron, Pema. (1991). The Wisdom of No Escape.

Hanh, T.N. (1976) The Miracle of Mindfulness. Boston, Beacon Press.

Hayes S.C., Strousaht, K., Wilson K.G., Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. New York: Guilford Press

Ron Kurtz, Body Centered Psychotherapy, Medocino, Calif., Life Rhythm 1990